To report clinical features, response to treatment, and long-term follow-up of nail lichen planus in children.
Retrospective study involving 15 children with nail lichen planus.
Outpatient consultation for nail disorders at the Department of Dermatology of the University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
Patients or Other Participants
We diagnosed nail lichen planus in 15 children younger than 12 years, including 10 children with typical nail matrix lesions, 2 children with 20-nail dystrophy (trachyonychia), and 3 children with idiopathic atrophy of the nails. Only 2 of the 15 children had oral lichen planus; none had cutaneous lesions. A nail biopsy confirmed the diagnosis in all cases.
Intramuscular triamcinolone acetonide, 0.5 to 1 mg/kg per month, was prescribed to children with typical nail lichen planus and prolonged from 3 to 6 months until the proximal half of the nail was normal. No treatment was prescribed to patients with 20-nail dystrophy or idiopathic atrophy of the nails.
Treatment with systemic corticosteroids was effective in curing typical nail lichen planus. Two children experienced a recurrence of the disease during the follow-up. Recurrences were always responsive to therapy. The 2 children with 20-nail dystrophy improved without any therapy. Nail lesions caused by idiopathic atrophy of the nails remained unchanged during the follow-up period.
Nail lichen planus in children is not rare but probably underestimated. It often presents with atypical clinical features such as 20-nail dystrophy or idiopathic atrophy of the nails.